Hello and welcome to episode 119 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about happiness. Is it a choice or is it destiny?
Today’s question comes from Laura and she says “I’ve always had trouble with happiness, in relationships and life. I can never seem to be truly happy. Is happiness a dream or can you really attain it?”
Thanks for the question Laura it’s really beautiful. I think every single person on earth goes through this. We all seek happiness in our lives, especially in the midst of a crisis.
First let’s focus on the word happiness. Let’s try and understand it from the perspective of the great ones. I want a share a story with you that was told by Ramana Marishi a great sage of south India.
There was a sage who would sit under a tree. This sage was always so happy, serene and blissful. He had a really high energy. Others would sit under the same tree and just try to feel as happy as he did. The others would go out to work in the morning and then come back while trying to keep that happiness with them. Some days would be good and others would be not so good depending on what happened during their day because for us happiness is defined by what happens outside.
This sage would never come and never go. He would always be under the shade of the tree feeling the sun and the gentle winds. He always had such high energy. Everyone was attracted to him because of his high energy and vibrations. People loved him because he would help them solve all sorts of problems in their lives. You can fake a lot of things in this world but the one thing you cannot fake is energy. This sage was genuine and so was his happiness.
Ramana Maharishi said that if you set a goal for yourself in life then when you achieve that goal you feel happy. What is interesting to note is the moment we experience happiness, the minute we say “ I am happy” we are actually going back to our consciousness says Ramana Maharishi. This happens without us even realising it. The moment you feel happy you go back to the consciousness. It happens subconsciously. This means that happiness is only manufactured in the realm of the consciousness not in any thought,action or event.
While the others came and went the sage always remained in the shade of the tree and in his consciousness. You can set whatever goals you need and if you achieve them that’s great but to taste true happiness you must go back to the consciousness.
People who achieve great things will say they are happy. They achieve great things because of their karma but they are only happy because they came back to the consciousness. So there are two things involved, karma and the consciousness.
Karma will decide whether you are successful or not but it is the consciousness that will bring true happiness. There is no other way other than to fall back on your consciousness. It is very important to differentiate between success and happiness. Success is on the outside and it will not always bring you happiness. Happiness is only on the inside. This is why you will find that some people who are incredibly successful are not happy at all and then others who have nothing or just enough to get by are incredibly happy.
Happiness has nothing to do with what material items you have or don’t have and it has nothing to do with how much money you earn. It also has nothing to do with pain, pleasure, power, victory or defeat. Happiness has no business with whatever happens on the outside. This is the secret.
Krishna himself says “Him the weapons cannot cut, fire cannot burn, water cannot wet, wind cannot dry. The self cannot be cut, dried, burned or wetted…Eternal, all pervasive, stable, immovable, everlasting the Self Reigns”
It is always there for you and is unaffected by the events happening around you. Vivekananda says, and I want you to write this down. He says that consciousness is not an emotion it is a choice. All emotions such as pain and pleasure come from the sattvic, rajasic and tamasic gunas and will be pushed up based on our baggage. Happiness is a choice because you can choose to return to the consciousness. Just remember this, happiness is a choice not an emotion. Like the monk, you can choose to be in the realm of happiness for 24 hours a day if that is what you want.
The beauty of happiness is that when you are in its realm you become incredibly energetic and there is zero conflict. When you are in this realm you will bring this positive energy with you wherever you go and everyone around you will also benefit it. You will be able to remain serene in the midst of any crisis.
So what is the choice? The choice is to distinguish between the real and un-real. The real is the gold image, your consciousness and the unreal are all the emotions that are pushed up because of the gunas and the baggage. People make the mistake of thinking that their purpose for being here is karma and baggage but we are only here to form the gold image within. So to make the right choice you must be under that tree and in the realm of the consciousness. This is called discrimination.
When we constantly rely on the un-real emotions of the gunas then we are made to act and then there will be an event. Then if we are successful we attribute happiness to the event. The whole process of thought action and event is attributed to the karma. This is all un-real and it has nothing to do with happiness. We must discriminate between this and true lifelong happiness that exists within the realm of the consciousness. This is the only thing that is real.
So Laura what you need to do is go back to the shore of the consciousness and then you will be experience true happiness even in the midst of crisis.
I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.